Author Spotlight: Jane Lienau

Jane Lienau is the author of our Latin title, Scandite Muros. She is a Latin teacher at Brunswick High School in Brunswick, Maine.

We recently had the opportunity to ask Jane a few questions about herself and teaching. Here’s what she had to say:

What aspect of your teaching are you constantly working to improve?

The continually challenging part is finding new ways to be sure that content is reaching and being mastered by all students. The trick is to find engaging ways of assessing student comprehension without seeming overly formulaic. Kids get very tired of exit tickets and Kahoot! every class.

What is the biggest challenge in teaching Latin?

The biggest challenge in teaching a Classical language in the 21st century is making sure that your subject does not become marginalized. Public school budgets are continually threatened, and too often the Latin program goes due to dwindling enrollments and lack of support.

At my school’s annual Saturnalia Festival, my students introduce students from the high school as well as from local elementary and junior high students to various aspects of Roman culture. Students throughout the school know that the best way to improve your writing in English is to take Latin I and II.

These efforts make a Latin program thrive, but one cannot become complacent. There is always some board member asking why a dead language is important, so Latin teachers must keep up a continual public relations campaign.

What is the nicest thing a student has said to you?

Students say really nice things all the time, either while they are in your class or after they leave. But the comment I value most as a teacher was said not by a student but by another Latin teacher. I gave a presentation about sight reading Latin at a language conference.

Afterwards, a woman whom I had not met said to a mutual friend (who reported it to me): “That woman seriously has her act together.” Probably the best compliment I have ever received in my professional life.

What is your favorite thing about teaching Latin, in eight words or less?

Vergil; teenage humor; joyful pride of student success.

Learn more about Scandite Muros: Sight-Reading Latin for the AP® Latin Exam.

We’re always looking for teachers to interview. Email listening@waysidepublishing.com to recommend yourself or a teacher you know who uses Wayside Publishing learning programs.